December 17, 2013
Edwin Garcia’s report, “Landmark Survey Reveals In-depth Beliefs, Perceptions of Adventists” (Nov. 28, 2013), rightfully reflected the fact that Adventists place the influence of Sabbath school teachers above that of pastors and elders. From childhood to adolescence the ministry of women teachers played a prominent role in my spiritual formation.
Emma embraced me, and the kid next door who came to church barefooted. She told Bible stories as we acted out the stories with cardboard figures in a tabletop sandbox. She taught us the memory verse and helped us paste stars on our take-home projects. Years after leaving home, my Cradle Roll/Kindergarten teacher greeted me with her usual smile and embrace.
Erma gathered me and four pre-teens around the piano in our one-room church. She encouraged us to attend academy and college, even though she knew my parents objected.
Mary saw the sorrow on my face when I left the academy tent at camp meeting. She wept with me and prayed for me to have strength to overcome the parental hurdles that would have prevented me from attending academy.
After 40 years of denominational work, I thank God that women were entrusted with ministry to children. I wonder why the fuss about women in ministry when the church has relied on women for decades in Sabbath school.
I am saddened when I think of the thousands of dollars spent on study groups and conferences about women’s ordination. Especially when I think of the motherly Sabbath school teachers who molded my spiritual walk with little or no financial help from the church.
God, help us to get our priorities straight.
Knowing the Way
I have read “The Cartography of Faith” (Nov. 28, 2013) five times. Each time I find a new nugget of reflection and beauty in Dixil Rodríguez’ writing that makes me reflect on my relationship with God.
True, we are all pilgrims. During this holiday season it is important to remember where we have traveled in our Christian life, and never forget that we do not travel alone. What a blessing to read a cover story that makes us reflect on the amazing love of God.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
I was truly blessed by “The Cartography of Faith.” What a beautiful reminder of how God cares for us, knows the terrain ahead, and is always guiding us.
Dixil Rodríguez’ column is one of my favorite Adventist Review features. Her writing is inspiring, beautiful, and blessed. Please thank her for sharing such an intimate story with her Christian family. Thank you for publishing such wonderful articles.
Regarding “The Fight of Our Lives” (Nov. 14, 2013):
I appreciated the admission that we are all “innately selfish” and self-centered. Our natural depravity seems to be a theological reality that we Adventists have become reluctant to proclaim, or even acknowledge (Ps. 51:5; Eph. 2:3; etc.).
But no genuine progress in the salvation or betterment of humankind can take place until we are willing to confess our inherent and irremediable moral corruption and allow a power outside ourselves—God’s grace—to do for us what it is impossible to do; that is, to transform us from selfish, rebellious sinners into obedient, submissive saints.
Dealing Constructively With Controversy
I thank Adventist Review for its excellent focus on 1888 (Oct. 10, 2013). Every article was a blessing, including the story “Bird 9-1-1.”
One of the points brought out in this issue was the importance of dealing with doctrinal controversy in a proper, biblical manner. Of special note was Lael Caesar’s reflection, “The Genius of Disunity.”
Caesar shared a few thoughts from the writings of Ellen White where she counseled against making controversial issues public, and the untold harm and precedent it sets. I wonder how this would apply to other Adventist hot potatoes of our day, such as women’s ordination, spiritual formation, etc.?
Thinking About Creation
I appreciated “Christ, Character, and Creation” (Oct. 24, 2013), John T. Baldwin’s treatment of the relationship between creation and the character of Christ as Creator, and Baldwin’s conclusion that Christ can be neither the God of theistic evolution or of progressive creation.
I also appreciate the suggested changes in wording for some of our 28 fundamental beliefs to better articulate those beliefs (archives.adventistreview.org/article/6749/archives/issue-2013-1528/28cn-annual-council-delegates-review-suggested-changes-to-28-fundamental-beliefs). I refer specifically to the suggested changes in wording for the statement on creation. I affirm the committee for its good scholarship.
Regarding the subject of creation, I noticed a difference between the statements about creation as published in Seventh-day Adventists Believe and Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology, and what is published in the curriculum for Sabbath school and regular schools. For our schools, only light is desribed as being created on the first day. In the above works, earth is also included in the first day of creation.
Is that a dichotomy? Are we leaving our children and youth open to deceptive teachings about theistic evolution or progressive creation?
By harmonizing our statements we would affirm several foundational understandings: (1) The authority and power of God, (2) the authority and veracity of the Scriptures, and (3) the harmony/agreement among scriptural accounts regarding God and His creative power.
Cedar Lake, Wisconsin
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